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ORLANDO-Few cities today make money from professional sports franchises, but the upstart XFL football league is an exception. The Orlando Rage’s two-year leasing deal at the 70,000-seat Citrus Bowl is turning out to be a potential $50,000-a-year revenue maker.

Not so the leasing deal with Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre, which is far less profitable. At the bottom of the money-making ladder for the city are the New Year bowl games at the Citrus Bowl.

The deal with the Rage gives the city a minimum $10,000 per-game rent or 10% of the gross ticket take, which ever is greater, on a 10-game season schedule. The city also gets all parking and concession revenues. Additionally, the Rage pays up to $55,000 in salaries for security offers, cleanup crews and ushers.

Bill Becker, the Citrus Bowl’s executive director, estimates the city could net $55,000 per game even if attendance averages only 20,000. Rage management can cut such a deal with the city because player salaries in the new league are low and the its financial backing is broad. The World Wrestling Federation and NBC jointly own and operate the seven-team XFL, which includes San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago. The schedule runs from February through April.

Another factor is ticket price. he best Rage tickets go for $25 and $35. That’s peanuts for most fans compared to a Magic top seat of $132. Nose-bleed seats at the TD Waterhouse arena, however, are sold for $10.

The city makes less than $15,000 per game with the Magic at the arena. For example, the basketball team pays $7,500 per game rent and splits concession profits with the city. The city keeps the parking revenue. When the city formerly hosted minor professional baseball teams at the aging Tinker Field, annual losses averaged $300,000 due to lean crowds and leaner concession sales.

At the annual New Year’s game at the Citrus Bowl, the city can clear $50,000 if all 70,000 seats are sold and food/drink sales are sizzling. Bad weather could reduce sharply or wipe out a profit for the city.

The Citrus Sports Association has an intriguing lease deal with the city. The association pays the city $1.23 per fan, and keeps all concessions and parking monies. Yet the city covers all or most expenses, which have run to $90,000 in the past, especially if the game falls on a holiday and the city must pay overtime to stadium personnel.

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